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Calgary Family Law Blog

Parental alienation card played in some child custody battles

Some divorced parents are embroiled in bitter battles over their children. Child custody fights in Canada can be brutal, and some parents will use any tactics possible, including parental alienation, which is sometimes misused when things get as far as a court room. There have been circumstances in abusive instances when alleged abusers will accuse the other parent of trying to turn their children against them.

Experts says parental alienation is one of the most used allegations over the last two decades. It is costly, time consuming and usually not in the best interests of the children. Some psychologists have even debunked the term, but it is still used in court. Most judges still accept that parental alienation exists and find it difficult to sort fact from fiction in what is one parent against the other.

Family law: The down side of do-it-yourself separation agreements

Separation agreements may make sense for a couple splitting up but not divorcing. However, under family law in Canada, these agreements aren't valid unless there are certain things in place. Merely writing one up, signing it and having it witnessed doesn't mean it would eventually hold up in court. Each partner needs to have independent legal counsel when it comes to a separation agreement.

The agreement should be completely transparent when it comes to finances. Wise separation agreements pull no punches when it comes to a couple's assets and money situation. With this in mind, both parties should sign a legally binding document attesting to the agreement's financial validity.

Family law: Divorce may lead to bankruptcy

A marriage breakdown has the potential of causing financial havoc for both spouses. Family law rules in Canada spell out the processes by which issues relating to divorce are handled, but don't talk about the financial pressures that divorce can create. Problems can be so severe, that a divorce can result in the bankruptcy of one or both partners.

Former spouses can no longer rely on each other for financial help -- that team has been broken with the end of the marriage. There are many ramifications for those individuals who become insolvent. If the person was the payer of child support, the child can also suffer. Although bankruptcy doesn't mean a parent is off the hook for support, his or her support payments might be modified by a judge taking into consideration the person's financial situation.

Family law dispute: The tragedy of parental alienation

When a parent turns a child against the other parent, there is no winning outcome. When a family law dispute in Alberta involves parental alienation, there are likely to be boundless hurt feelings and the alienated parent and his or her children are the ones who suffer most. Some psychologists have gone as far as to say that when a parent alienates a child from the other parent, it can be construed as maltreating the child. Some children are the ones who alienate a parent, thinking that doing so may please the other parent.

There are times when not having contact with a parent can be in the best interests of the child -- such as in abusive situations. However, most times both parents have something to contribute to their children's lives in a co-parenting situation. Family court judges have to become astute at distinguishing true abuse allegations from parental alienation and therein lies the difficulty according to some psychologists. There is also the problem of the alienating parent continuing to make disparaging remarks against the other parent in front of the children even when the children have begun to see the estranged parent again.

Following family law orders when parents are in different locales

Divorce is divisive even in the best of circumstances. But when parents live in different places, it can be even harder to enforce any court orders. That's why under family law rules in Alberta, the province has interjurisdictional agreements with other provinces, territories and countries that recognize, uphold and possibly change court orders pertaining to family law rules.

These family law partners, as it were, have similar legislation and processes as Alberta. For instance if a custodial parent is living in Alberta and wants to file a child support order against a parent who is in Ontario, he or she will do so in Alberta. If a judge issues a provisional order, it can be sent to an Ontario court where it will be reviewed. A judge will either refuse it, grant it or send back to Alberta, asking for further evidence.

Family law solutions for problems that seem overwhelming

Divorce can leave individuals seething. It can wreak havoc on family life and can create untold problems. But there may be family law solutions available for families in Canada for issues that may seem insurmountable. There may be times when individuals think about doing things they should really not do, such as try to seek revenge on anyone who they think may have had something to do with the demise of their marriage. 

But revenge isn't really sweet, especially when negative consequences may impact other family members. Confrontation is unlikely to make a situation better. Perhaps when it comes to extended family and divorce, it's better to let bygones be bygones. In fact, there may be etiquette rules regarding divorce and a former spouse that are wise such as weighing potential actions against whether those actions would be in any children's best interests.

Family law: Mental health services help parents after divorce

Divorce can be debilitating. It can take a toll on all family members, wreaking havoc with a couple's mental health and the mental health of their children. For parents in Canada to be able to put their children first and always think of what's best for them as per family law rules, they need access to services to take care of their own emotions and their kids' emotions during a marital split. 

Children may start acting out and displaying behaviour that is unusual. They may become combative, angry and even aggressive. In these instances, it would be beneficial for kids and their parents to be able to talk to a therapist about what is happening in their lives and to develop some skills to deal with mental issues that may arise out of the stress of divorce.

Keeping a business safe in a high asset divorce situation

Entrepreneurs need to know a lot more about divorce than the average Joe or Jane. Some Alberta residents who have amassed a sizable amount of assets from a successful business and now find themselves embroiled in a high-asset divorce may want to keep a number of things in mind. Keeping a business safe from a potentially angry spouse means keeping a level head since a lot may be at stake financially.

High net worth people have particular challenges when it comes to divorce. But when spouses are also business partners, it can get especially messy. There are ways, however, to ensure that the business is not adversely affected by an impending divorce. Collaborative law and mediation may make the going easier -- much easier than the litigation process.

Alberta family law: The right and a not so right way to divorce

There is no road map for marriage and so, there is no road map for divorce, either. But Alberta family law sets out the rules that govern the legal uncoupling of a marriage. It doesn't, however, stipulate how a couple should act toward each other during the divorce process. But there is one a separating couple can do to make a tenuous situation more tolerable and ultimately less painful: treat each other fairly.

That may be difficult to do since couples who are divorcing are often doing so because they haven't always treated each other compassionately and fairly. But ending a marriage on a proper footing emotionally and financially may help the couple move ahead as individuals. When former spouses continue to bash each other, it weakens the dignity of each individual, not to mention the negative effects it could have on any children.

Family law solutions provide support for back to school time

It's a hectic time of year when kids are getting ready to head back to school. There are many changes on the horizon when starting a new grade, and those changes can seem even more challenging when kids whose parents have recently split up are back in class. Newly divorced parents in Alberta who share child custody of their kids may find this time of year particularly stressful, compounded by the fact of also being new singles. There are certain family law solutions that can help.

The first lesson outside of the classroom is for parents. They must put their kids first by positively co-parenting them. That means both parents need to take a proactive approach when helping their children to deal with the parents being newly divorced and the kids going back to school. Children thrive on routine and parents may be able to help their kids by planning ahead for things like homework and after-school activities. It never hurts to ask children what they would find interesting to do when the school day is done.

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